Like the rest of the country, Minnesota continues to reopen its economy after the state’s shutdown orders. And this means slowly opening offices across the state to returning workers.
But how will COVID-19 shape the way offices look? And will the pandemic bring permanent changes to the way offices throughout the Twin Cities and the rest of the state operate?
Cushman & Wakefield recently tackled these questions in its The Future of Workplace report released June 23. Cushman & Wakefield analyzed more than 2.5 million data points from workers across the globe in the pre-pandemic days and an additional 1.7 million data points from more than 50,000 respondents during the country’s current work-from-home environment.
And one of the key results? Working from home will remain an important part of the work experience for a larger number of employees even after the pandemic ends. The survey found that 50 percent of respondents will continue to work from a larger work ecosystem that will include not only the traditional office but their homes and third places.
This arrangement is something that most employees want. Cushman & Wakefield found that 73 percent of employees want their companies to embrace some level of work-from-home.
As workers across Minnesota stay home to complete their tasks, employers have discovered that remote working doesn’t have to mean a reduction in employee productivity. The opposite might be true. The survey found that collaboration among workers and managers has reached an all-time high during the pandemic.
The survey found that 75 percent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they are collaborating effectively with their fellow employees. That number is up 10 percent from pre-COVID-19 days.
At the same time, 90 percent of employees responding to Cushman & Wakefield’s survey said that they believe their employers trust them to work remotely.
This doesn’t mean, though, that the traditional office is disappearing. There are still plenty of benefits to the office environment that companies and employees are missing out during the pandemic, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
Respondents said that they do miss the personal connections and bonding with their co-workers, something that has taken a hit during the pandemic. And not all workers are thriving equally in their work-from-home environments.
Younger workers, especially, are facing more challenges. Cushman & Wakefield found that 70 percent of Gen Z workers and 69 percent of Millennial employees reported challenges from working from home. Only 55 percent of Baby Boomers did the same.
This isn’t surprising. Gen Z workers, who are under 24 years of age, might share a living space with roommates or might still be living with their parents. This can make it difficult to carve out an adequate workspace that allows them to focus on their jobs during the day.
Millennial workers face their own challenges. Many have started families and have young children that need more attention during the day. It can be difficult for Millennials to work from home and tend to their children’s needs throughout the day.
Cushman & Wakefield’s survey, then, suggests that while employees might spend more time working from home even after the pandemic, that there will remain a place for the traditional office. Cushman & Wakefield, though, says that the role of the office needs to evolve.
Workspaces should transform into inspiring destinations that strengthen cultural connection, learning and bonding with customers and colleagues, according to the survey.